Sir, – David Rubin (“Creating tension to expel
Jews,” Comment & Features, December 18) mistakenly calls perpetrators of
recent violent attacks against the IDF “young idealists.”
In fact, the
actions of these young people are an attack on all law-abiding Israelis and
threaten to do serious harm to the country.
Defenders of Israel seek
world support for the one vibrant democracy in the Middle East.
essence of democracy is an acceptance of the will of the electorate. In exchange
for the right to voice their opinions freely and elect their government, members
of a democratic society take it upon themselves to forswear violence if the
majority votes against their wishes.
These “young idealists” have
rejected the very basis of this contract. They believe they have the right (some
say duty) to use violence when the state’s elected leaders act in a way that
does not meet their parochial standards. This is a direct challenge not only to
the IDF but to the social fabric of the entire nation.
Rubin is also
wrong in citing the supposed offenses of elected officials as if they explain
why these youth have been brought to what he calls “the brink of misguided
Regardless of what he thinks of the policies of Defense
Minister Barak or Prime Minister Netanyahu, the violent actions are
indefensible. They must be stopped before they lead to anarchy.
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Sir, – In response to Thelma
Susswein’s claim that the young instigators of violence against the IDF are
motivated by fervent patriotism (“Terrorists or not...,” Letters, December 18),
I would beg to differ.
These youth, in fact, act in despair of having
their voices heard in a system that has repeatedly negated democratic means of
expression. They need to learn that while their frustration is understandable,
violence in this context is inexcusable and very counter-productive.
should also be stressed that the number of participants involved in this
behavior is extremely small. By juxtaposing reports of several hundreds of
youths protesting the evacuation of a settlement with the acts of violence, the
media have tried to suggest that they were also complicit in the violence, which
is simply untrue.
The acts of violence were committed by an isolated
Yes, these youth need to learn a lesson that living in a democracy,
even when the cards are stacked against them, requires abiding by the
No other response (and surely not violence) can achieve an
alternative. It is the same lesson that Yigal Amir would have benefited from.
But if the media are intent on generalizing and categorizing right-wing activism
as terrorism, this lesson will never be learned because the right will be too
busy defending itself against incitement.SHARON LINDENBAUM
proactive Sir, – I find Martin Sherman’s analysis “Note to Newt (Part I):
Uninventing Palestinians” (Into the Fray, December 16) compelling, indeed
convincing. But as someone who made aliya from Britain only last summer, I am
sure it would cut little ice with the great majority of opinion- leaders in the
Public opinion in Britain has little truck with arguments that rely
on historical facts or opinions voiced more than a year or two back. Disastrous
educational policies pursued for some 50 years have resulted in a generation
pretty well cut off from its own historical roots and with little understanding
or patience for causes based, however logically, on history.
the majority of the British public is what it believes it sees being played out
before its very eyes: a dispossessed people struggling to assert its identity
against a power that is far stronger and denying them their rights.
own inclination would be to redouble the so-far inadequate efforts to put
Israel’s case positively and convincingly before the world. To my mind, the
glaring omission is our failure to launch a 24-hour English- language TV news
channel based in Jerusalem.
With the many sources of funding available
throughout the world to support Jewish causes, how is it that Israel’s voice has
gone virtually unheard for all these years in the most important mass medium of
all? Surely there is sufficient enterprise as well as cash out there to make
this happen.NEVILLE TELLER
Beit Shemesh Wrong equation
Sir, – Aaron
Katsman nailed it in “Power + Populism = Plunging stock market?” (Business &
Finance, December 15).
Nowhere in history have people been taxed into
Once again, Prime Minister Netanyahu has left those who voted
for him scratching their heads as he continues to abandon principle after
principle.MOSHE AREYEH SEGAL
Neve Daniel Flailing ninja
Sir, – Kudos to
Ray Hanania (“Look who’s talking about ‘invented’ peoples!,” Yalla Peace,
Clever journalist that he is, Hanania took on the role of a
flailing ninja with a sword in each of his numerous arms, slashing at, besides
Newt Gingrich, the American nation, American Jews, the historic right of Israel
and the Christian Evangelical movement, senselessly ignoring the real target of
his attack: that “the Palestinians are an invented people,” bringing as proof a
picture showing the Hanania family in Jerusalem in 1919.
Did the Hanania
family call itself “Palestinian?” Did any self-respecting Arab at the time? When
the British enlisted members of the Jewish community to fight in World War II in
a special unit, calling it “Palestinian,” the Arabs refused, explaining, “Only
Jews are Palestinian; we are Arabs.”
For the sake of brevity I am
attaching only one of many citations from Arab leaders to indicate their intent
for inventing the Palestinian label: “It is for tactical reasons that we
carefully stress our Palestinian identity for it is in the national interest of
the Arabs to encourage a separate Palestinian identity to counter Zionism: The
founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the ongoing battle against
Israel.” This was stated by Zohair Mohson, then-head of PLO’s military operations
department, in 1977.
I hope Hanania will learn and not want to be
confused by facts when he wishes to indulge his prejudices.LIVIA JACKSON
The writer is a professor of history at City University of New York
Sir, – Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not
known for his empathy or humanism when it comes to dealing with complex
political or humanitarian problems, from a strategic and political point of view
I would like to suggest that the crisis in Syria presents a unique diplomatic
opportunity for Israel.
Now would present the perfect time for Israel to
let it be known through underground channels that it would temporarily welcome
and shelter, through offers of home hospitality from ordinary Israelis, Syrian
women, children and elderly refugees fleeing the torture and murder of Bashar
Assad’s regime. What a turn-around for relations this would be! People of both
countries could join hands to support each other on purely humanitarian grounds
and in the name of human rights and democracy.
I write these words in the
hope that someone in Israel will have the moral courage and imagination to come
to the help of people in dire need of relief from the cruelest
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